Super Bowl Predictions 2012: Last Minute Super Bowl XLVI Score Prediction

Kraig LundbergAnalyst IIIFebruary 5, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 04:  A general exterior view of Lucas Oil Stadium decorated with official Super Bowl XLVI on February 4, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Super Bowl XLVI will be played between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

As the New York Giants and the New England Patriots prepare to battle for Super Bowl XLVI, it's time to take one final look at the matchup and make a tough prediction.

The Patriots will come into this game as the favorites according to Vegas, but some analysts don't think that's even accurate.

New York will come in on an improbable run that began with their first victory over the Dallas Cowboys. It has culminated in a Super Bowl appearance with a dramatic win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship.

Along the way, a defense that has been very suspect throughout the season has stepped up in a big way in all facets of the game, and a running game that was ranked last in the league for the regular season has finally begun to live up to its potential.

In the process, head coach Tom Coughlin and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, whose job security was being heavily questioned just weeks ago, have seemingly cemented their positions once again.

The New England Patriots have been on a run of their own and have also improved significantly on defense. Head coach Bill Belichick prides himself on fielding solid defenses, and he's finally doing that just in time for his fifth Super Bowl appearance alongside Tom Brady.

Brady himself had an off-game against the Baltimore Ravens last week, but he is by far the biggest reason why the Patriots are here in the first place. He has had an unbelievable season, overshadowed only by the statistical explosions of Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.

When New York made it into the playoffs with their second big win over the Dallas Cowboys a few weeks ago, fans already started dreaming of a Patriots-Giants rematch of 2008. And now that it's here, it is anybody's guess who will take home the hardware.

The Giants feature a fearsome pass rush led by defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, but Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez will work to create matchup nightmares for New York's back seven.

On the other side, the Giants will feature an incredible passing game themselves, led by quarterback Eli Manning and receivers Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham, but Patriots Vince Wilfork, Rob Ninkovich and company will try to get into Manning's face before his receivers can get open.

If the Giants can establish a running game with the effective thunder-and-lightning punch of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, though, New England's defensive line will have another offensive dimension to worry about.

Regardless of what players and coaches say about the 2008 Super Bowl loss, you have to think revenge will be a factor for the Patriots, if for no other reason than to avenge their 24-20 loss earlier this season. But every time I've gone against the Giants this postseason, they've proven me wrong.

This one will come down to the final moments, but I'll have to go with the Giants.


Giants 31, Patriots 27